New years day is upon us. I love the first day of the year, so much hope, anticipation, wonder for the new year to come. This year is no different, there is a hope in my heart, a knowingness that this year, 2019, will be a gigantic milestone in my evolution. Yet, this day also comes with pain. Today I compassionately and mindfully invited death for my oldest furry friend, Rex. This furry, loveable, wild-haired border collie came into my life 14 years ago. I fell madly in love with him the minute I met this orphaned dog at the Denver Humane Society. I can’t begin to count the number of kisses I’ve given him, the number of laughs and consolations he has given me in our time together. Rex was my first baby, the first foundational member of my family, which now includes my husband and 8 year old son. The memories are fond and endless.
Rex has been getting old. This happens, as it should. He has slowed down playing catch, a game of toss and retrieve which was once an hour long is now just two or three tosses. His back legs have been giving out on him, and he often drags them, his aging body no longer keeping up with his puppy heart. His spine hurts, he is deaf and can hardly see. Yet he wags his tail and just having him around me gives me joy.
So today was the day we tearfully played our last rounds of catch, to feed Rex as many treats as we possibly could, before we held him to say goodbye. As the medication took effect in his body a peacefulness washed over him, and me. I felt so much love, so much clarity, so much peace. His life slipped away from his body as I lay with my arms around him. And then, he was gone. 14 years together over in a matter of 2 minutes.
There was no drama. There was no fanfare. We celebrated with a Last Supper with a homecooked meal of fish and a vanilla cone from McDonalds last night.
When I spoke with Rex about inviting him to pass on, he was very non-chalant about it. He told me (through my intuition and side hobby as an animal whisperer) that it didn’t matter WHEN he transitioned, just that it be surrounded with love. He said, “It’s really not a big deal to me, so do whatever you want, when you want.” You see, Rex loved to please his family. Like most animals, he really wasn’t too attached to this world or the next. He had a soft compassionate detachment from human drama and lived in the moment.
So, as I look to 2019, I want to invite the same sense of graceful transition Rex showed us. The grace to say goodbye to without drama. To peacefully surrender and move on. To not make things a bigger or lesser deal than they are. To maintain a soft, compassionate detachment from my ego’s ruthless desire for comfort and numbing. To not need to control the outcome of my days and to harness my courage and strength to kill off those parts of me that are dying already. To Let go, breathe away and invite death to corners of my psyche that are rotting away anyways. To make room for the New Year to begin anew, with a fresh bedding of death to nurture the growth of a new year.